One Question Quiz
Design: Archi Banal
Design: Archi Banal

SocietyOctober 3, 2023

The cost of being: A junior analyst in Wellington

Design: Archi Banal
Design: Archi Banal

As part of our series exploring how New Zealanders live and our relationship with money, a 22-year-old analyst with a $30,000 student loan shares where his money goes.

Gender: Male

Age: 22

Ethnicity: Pākehā

Work situation: Junior analyst for a multinational consulting firm. I get a yearly salary of $65,000. This is my first full time office job after graduating from university, but I was working part time in an office throughout my degree. I also have a $30,000 student loan.

My living location is: Inner city suburban Wellington.

Rent per week: $280 including utilities. I rent the upstairs of a house with 3 other flatmates. 

Student loan or other debt payments per week: $100 towards student loan and about $120 paying off debt to my parents. 

Any major upcoming costs: Car will need Warrant of Fitness and Rego and I’m going to the dentist for the first time since my last free check-up in high school 4 years ago.

Typical weekly food costs

Groceries: About $100 a week. To keep costs down I try to eat as much of the complimentary food in the office at work. I don’t buy fresh produce generally unless I am wanting to make a specific meal. I sometimes scan expensive veggies as potatoes at the self-checkout as I’d rather steal than pay $10 for an avocado.

Eating out: $20 a month. I eat out maybe once a month with friends and family or for special occasions.

Takeaways: $5 a week. I often get frozen Cokes as I walk past a McDonald’s on my way home from work.

Workday lunches: $0. I only ever bring lunches, go hungry or work from home.

Cafe coffees: $12 a month. I drink lots of coffee at home but will buy one if I am travelling.

Savings: $0 in my account. But I have about $5,000 in my KiwiSaver. $10,000 from the grandparents meant to help me buy a house and about $15,000 in student loan living costs I put aside and invested. I haven’t had savings since last year, but I am hoping that will change in the next two months. I ran out of money travelling at the start of the year and borrowed a lot of money from family to get home. 

I worry about money… a few times a week. I get paid monthly which is hard when you have no savings. I transfer my rent and utilities money to a separate account when I get paid and pay as off as much debt as I can. I pay myself an equal sum each week with the leftover money. Often, I will run out of money in the last week before my pay check and have had to borrow money from friends to tide me over.  

Three words to describe my financial situation would be: Growing, privileged, indebted.

My biggest edible indulgence would be… buying gifts for my partner.

In a typical week my alcohol expenditure would be $5. I drink at the Friday office drinks and bulk buy honey which I use to make mead. I found this to be much cheaper and I drink less.

In a typical week my transport expenditure would be… $5. I ride my bike to work and when going out for drinks. If the weather is bad, I’ll get the bus. I only drive my car once every two weeks if I need to pick someone up from the airport or I’m buying something big I can’t carry on my bike. I’m hoping to reduce this soon by getting an electric cargo bike.

Lifestyle costs

I estimate in the past year the ballpark amount I spent on clothing (including sleepwear and underwear) was… about… $1,000. Most of my clothes are second hand from op shops or hand-me-downs from family. When I do buy new clothes, I try to get the best quality option I can within reason. I have spent a fair amount of money on tramping and outdoor gear as well.

My most expensive clothing in the past year was… $200 for a quality raincoat that was on sale. 

My last pair of shoes cost… $240 for a pair of tramping boots that lasted over 3000km. 

My annual grooming/beauty expenditure is… $100. I bought some basic make up products and have a nice facial moisturiser.  

My exercise expenditure in a year is… $200. I bought a nice pair of running shoes to do a half marathon in. 

My last Friday night cost $0. I drank lots at work drinks then rode my bike to the bar to see my parents for a wine which they paid for.

Most regrettable purchase in the last 12 months wasa $50 pair of gold pants I never wear.

My most indulgent purchase (that I don’t regret) in the last 12 months wasa few hundred dollars worth of drugs for a music festival in the summer.

One area where I’m a bit of a tightwad is… my car and computer. I hate spending money on my car and will try drive it as little as possible. I still use the 2013 MacBook air I got second-hand for high school.

Five words to describe my financial personality would be: Relatively responsible, relaxed, forward thinking.

I grew up in a house where money was: There if we needed it. My dad created his own company where my mum worked as well. This meant there was more some years than others. I remember during the global financial crisis my parents were very worried about the business going bankrupt and having to sell the house. But most of the time we were still able to go on yearly family camping holidays and there was always money for our hobbies or extra tutoring. 

The last time my Eftpos card was declined was trying to buy a coffee from McDonald’s at the end of my travelling a few weeks before starting my current job.  

In five years, in financial terms, I see myself… in a very good position. The goal is to have enough money to do a bit of travelling around the world while being able to make contributions towards a deposit for a house.

My biggest financial low was in the few weeks before starting my current job I had completely run out of money and had to ask the people around me every day to pay for my food. Also, while waiting for my first monthly pay check to come through not having enough money top up my bus card and having to plead with the driver to let me on anyway so I could go to work.

I give money away to… desperate people sitting outside the grocery store I go to. I try to buy nice things for my friends still studying and living off their student loans. 

Keep going!